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Abstract Detail

Colloquium: Speaking of Food: connecting basic and applied science

Emshwiller, Eve [1], Gardner, Andrew [2].

Basic science contributions to crop wild relative conservation in Oxalis.

Limited resources create the need to set priorities for conserving crop wild relatives (CWR) for potential use as genetic resources for plant breeding. Many researchers have grappled with defining CWR and setting priorities among species related to a particular crop. The Gene Pool concept was introduced by Harlan & deWet in 1971, but it depends on prior hybridization experiments, which are lacking for many food crops. The Taxon Group concept was proposed in 2006 by Maxent et al. as a proxy for use in cases when knowledge of ability to hybridize is lacking, but they acknowledge that this concept assumes that taxonomic classification reflects genetic distance among species. Therefore, systematics and taxonomy are not just of academic interest, but are used to make decisions about conservation. Here, we use the food crop oca, Oxalis tuberosa Molina (Oxalidaceae), as an example of the way that information from basic sciences can inform conservation decisions, and potentially also crop improvement. Oca is one of three tuber crops that, in addition to the potato, were domesticated in the Andean region from completely different plant families. Oca and the other tuber crops are regionally important in the diets and farming systems of rural communities in the central Andes. Prior work on the origin of polyploidy in oca confirmed the origin its genomes from ancestors in the "Oxalis tuberosa alliance" clade. We now have more information about the placement of the Oxalis tuberosa alliance in the phylogenetic context of the over 500 species in the genus Oxalis, as well as more information about which Andean taxa may be the progenitors of the octoploid crop. However, even with phylogenetic information, decisions may be arbitrary when judging how distantly related the taxa to include as CWR should be. Other data, such as from cytogenetics, can improve decisions about taxa to include in efforts to conserve CWR. Conservation of oca's CWR depends on integration of various kinds of information, some of which are available, but others are still lacking. Phylogeny and cytogenetic information together can improve decisions about which CWR should be highest priority. Although they remain proxies for more thorough knowledge of hybridization ability and genetic diversity, they may nonetheless provide better proxies than traditional taxonomy.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Botany Dept, 321 Birge Hall, 430 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA
2 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Botany Dept., 430 LIncoln Drive, Madison, WI, 53706, USA

Oxalis tuberosa
crop evolution
crop wild relative
conservation genetics.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: C7
Location: Grand Ballroom A/Riverside Hilton
Date: Tuesday, July 30th, 2013
Time: 2:15 PM
Number: C7002
Abstract ID:948
Candidate for Awards:None

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